Though it is the first 3D Castlevania, it is the best one.
The graphics do look blurry and bland by a casual glance. After playing Castlevania 64 for awhile I found that the blurry graphics actually contributed to the horror theme. It takes place in a dreary castle, so you wouldn’t expect bright, colorful graphics to portray a haunted castle. The music has more of an ambient presence than an overwhelming one. Don’t expect any memorable Castlevania tunes to come blasting out, but the music fits the theme appropriately with its gothic overtures. I found the game had a low wind howl instead of a strong musical presence. This didn’t bother me because it gave me a derelict feeling while transversing the castle.
The controls have their problems, but aren't terrible. As with most of the early generation 3-D games, bad camera angles can be a source of frustration. I did find that the controls for Castlevania to be surprisingly responsive for an early 3-D effort. They weren’t as clunky as Tomb Raider, though it does take some time to get them down, especially for some of the later stages.
Castlevania 64 proved to be yet another of my “judged it before I played it” mentalities I am prone to. Luckily for me, a situation came where I was able to play the game and be shown that my gaming arrogance is plain stupid at times. I do feel that Castlevania 64 is overlooked in a series dominated by great 2-D predecessors. For its maiden 3-D effort, I think it is the best 3-D Castlevania to date.